Quelle: http://madmax.lmtonline.com/textarchives/122597/s2.htmBy JOHN VALLS
Special to the Times
The boy stood in front of the hobby shop window. His eyes fixed on the Comet Clipper kit in the display case. The cold December wind swirled around him. He buttoned his jacket up to the top button and pulled his cap down over his ears to ward off the cold. His threadbare clothes had seen better days, but this was the best his mother could afford for him and his twin sisters.
His thoughts went back to the Comet Clipper kit. Boy, if only he could get that kit, he would build it with the utmost care. He could envision the two big fuselage sides made from quarter inch square balsa, side by side, ready to be joined to form that beautifully shaped fuselage.
He had seen a Clipper fly at the old airport last summer. It had to be the most beautiful model airplane in the world. Although he was not a member of the model airplane club, everybody in the club liked him and told him he was a good builder. He knew he could borrow the Brown engine from Mr. Snyder, the hobby shop owner. Mr. Snyder had been a friend of his father's and had told him that whenever he built his gas job he could borrow the engine to fly it.
His father had gotten him started building model airplanes when he was very young. He missed his father. He remembered about four years back, when he was 10 and the twins had just been born, his father and mother had a bad argument and his father had gone to another town to live. His father had been a good builder and had flown many rubber powered models. He built from plans that came in the model airplane magazines. One time they had chased a model for a mile and a half. That model had stayed up for almost 30 minutes.
He looked in the hobby shop and saw Mr. Snyder waving at him. He smiled and waved back. He noticed a man wearing a felt hat talking to Mr. Snyder. The ringing of the church bells snapped him out of his reverie. This was Christmas Eve. A warm feeling went through his body when he thought of how happy the twins would be when they woke up tomorrow and found the Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls that he had bought them for Christmas.
He worked at the lumber yard after school and during summer. His mother took in washing, and ironed and sewed, and together they just about made ends meet. He had saved a few pennies every payday all year long to buy the twins the dolls. There just wasn't any money left to buy model airplanes. Times were tough after the Depression of '32.
He took one more look at the Comet Clipper kit. Boy, a six foot wing span - that was big.
He finally turned away from the window and started his long walk home. He would have to walk carefully to avoid the puddles of water because the soles of his shoes had worn through and the cardboard he had lined the shoes with was already wet. Again he thought of the twins and he smiled. They would be thrilled with the dolls. They still believed in Santa Claus, and the excitement of them waking upon Christmas Day and finding the dolls that Santa had brought them was worth all the scrimping and saving he and his mother had gone through.
He remembered when he believed in Santa Claus. He also remembered the disappointment when he learned that there wasn't a Santa Claus. For several years after the grim discovery he kept hoping he was wrong, there was a Santa Claus. One time he had made up his mind that if he concentrated hard enough and said, "There is a Santa Claus,'' over and over again, his wish would come true. For no reason at all he suddenly stopped and made a wish. He silently said the words he had said so many times so long ago. "I wish there was a Santa Claus, I wish there was a Santa Claus.''
His mother had some hot soup for his supper when he got home. He checked the closet. The dolls were undiscovered. Everything was ready for Christmas morning. He was almost asleep when he noticed a light in the living room. He heard voices, a man's voice.
Groggy, he got up to look. Through the crack in the open door, he saw the man in the felt hat he had seen at the hobby shop. He was talking to his mother. The man left and the light went out. He went back to bed and fell sound asleep.
As he had expected, the twins were delighted with the Raggedy Ann and Raggedly Andy dolls. He was smiling at the antics of the twins with their dolls when his mother came in with a large box wrapped in Christmas paper.
"For you,'' his mother said.
"Mother, you shouldn't have,'' he said angrily. "You know we can't afford any presents for us!''
"It's not from me,'' she replied, smiling. "Well...aren't you going go open it?''
It was a long box. Long enough to be...no...It couldn't be. He ripped the paper off. The Comet Clipper kit. How? What? His mind was racing. He opened the box. There it was. The Comet Clipper kit with all the quarter inch square sticks, the printed woods, the plans and bamboo covering appear. Then he saw the note. He opened it up and read:
I was in the hobby shop today while you were standing outside admiring the Comet Clipper kit. Mr. Snyder gave me your name and address. He said you were a very good builder.
A long time ago, a stranger very much like I am to you, gave me a kit. I never forgot how much I enjoyed the model I built from that kit.
I could see in your eyes how much you liked that kit. I am passing along the nice thing some stranger did for me. Maybe some day you can do the same thing for someone.
"You know, Mother,'' Tommy said. "There is a Santa Claus.''
"The Lord works in strange ways, son,'' his mother replied.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: John Valls, retired Laredo educator and model airplane enthusiast, contributes articles to national model airplane publications. He wrote 'The Wish' from a personal experience. It was first published in RC Modeler Magazine and carried recently by the Society of Antique Modelers publication. The story's man in the felt hat is John Valls. The story is published with permission from RC Modeler Magazine.)